This story originally appeared in UCLA Today, a discontinued publication.

Former labor secretary, NASA chief, Pulitzer winner among UCLA graduation speakers

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Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, NASA chief and former astronaut Charles F. Bolden Jr., and Pulitzer Prize–winning food critic Jonathan Gold are among the prominent figures who will speak at UCLA's various commencement ceremonies, which begin May 17 and run through June 15.
 
The university is expected to confer an estimated 10,000 or more bachelor's, master's, doctoral and professional degrees during the ceremonies, which will be held at venues across the Westwood campus.
 
Famed basketball player Ann Meyers Drysdale will be the keynote speaker at the largest graduation event, the UCLA College of Letters and Science's dual commencement ceremonies, which take place at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, June 14, in the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion. Meyers Drysdale, a UCLA alumna and one of the first women inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, will address an estimated 5,200 graduating seniors and a large audience of family and friends.
 
This is the first time since 2009 that the event will be held in Pauley, the university's longtime graduation venue, and the first time the campus will stage two identical College of Letters and Science commencement ceremonies on one day. With the reopening of the storied arena last November, College officials saw an opportunity to address the perpetually high demand for commencement tickets. In past years, graduating seniors were limited to two tickets for family or friends. Having two ceremonies just hours apart will now allow each graduate to have four guests share in their big day.
 
Between the College commencement, the UCLA Graduate Division's doctoral hooding ceremony and graduation events at UCLA's professional schools, there will be 13 ceremonies and almost as many speakers.
 
Solis, a former congresswoman for California and labor secretary during President Obama's first term, will speak on Friday, May 17, at the School of Law ceremony. NASA Administrator Bolden, who traveled into orbit four times aboard the Space Shuttle and whose flights included the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope and the first joint U.S.–Russian Shuttle mission, will speak at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science ceremony on Saturday, June 15. Gold, a UCLA music alumnus, a Los Angeles Times food writer and the first person to win a Pulitzer Prize for food criticism, will speak at the School of the Arts and Architecture ceremony on Saturday, June 15.
 
UCLA's commencement ceremonies and speakers are (in order of occurrence):
 
Hilda Solis, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, will speak at the School of Law ceremony on Friday, May 17, at 3:30 p.m. in Dickson Court North.
 
The David Geffen School of Medicine Hippocratic Oath ceremony takes place Friday, May 31, at 5 p.m. in Perloff Quad. (Speaker to be announced.)
 
Dr. David Feinberg, president of the UCLA Health System, will speak at the School of Dentistry ceremony on Sunday, June 2, at 10 a.m. in Royce Hall. Feinberg oversees all aspects of the health system, including UCLA's hospitals, which treat 80,000 patients each year, and its more than 80 community-based clinics, which serve 1.5 million.
 
The Graduate Division doctoral hooding ceremony will take place Thursday, June 13, at 3 p.m. in Royce Hall. This is the 75th anniversary of the conferral of doctoral degrees at UCLA.
 
Fred Ali, president and CEO of the Weingart Foundation, will speak at the Luskin School of Public Affairs ceremony on Friday, June 14, at 9 a.m. in Royce Hall. The Weingart Foundation provides help to economically disadvantaged and homeless people in Los Angeles. Ali also worked with homeless and at-risk youth as the executive director of Covenant House in Los Angeles, which he helped expand to Oakland.
 
Ann Meyers Drysdale, basketball star and sports broadcaster, will speak at the UCLA College of Letters and Science dual commencement ceremonies on Friday, June 14, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion.
 
Peter Lowy, co-CEO of the Westfield Group, will speak at the Anderson School of Management ceremony on Friday, June 14, at 4 p.m. in Wilson Plaza. The Westfield Group one of the world's largest retail property groups, with investment interests in more than 100 shopping centers across five countries. Lowry is also chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council for Los Angeles County.
 
Dustin Lance Black, an Academy Award–winning screenwriter; Kristin Hanggi, a Tony-nominated theater director; and Cathy Schulman, an Academy Award–winning producer and president of Women in Film, will speak at the School of Theater, Film and Television ceremony on Friday, June 14, at 4 p.m. in Dickson Court North. Black, a UCLA alumnus, won the Oscar for best original screenplay in 2009 for the movie "Milk." Hanggi, a UCLA alumna, was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for best direction of a musical for "Rock of Ages." Schulman won the 2006 best picture Oscar for "Crash."
 
 
Dr. Roger Glass will speak at the Fielding School of Public Health ceremony on Friday, June 14, at 5:30 p.m. in Royce Hall. Glass is associate director for international research at the National Institutes of Health and director of the Fogarty International Center.
 
Diana Bonta, president of the California Wellness Foundation and a registered nurse, will speak at the School of Nursing ceremony on Saturday, June 15, at 8:30 a.m. in Royce Hall. The California Wellness Foundation is one of the largest health grant–making organizations in the state. Bonta, a proud Bruin who earned her master's and doctorate in public health from UCLA, is the former vice president of public affairs for the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region.
 
Charles F. Bolden Jr., chief of NASA and former astronaut, will speak at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science ceremony on Saturday, June 15, at 12:30 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.
 
Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Prize–winning food critic, will speak at the School of the Arts and Architecture ceremony on Saturday, June 15 at 4 p.m. in Dickson Court North.
 
Marcelo Suárez-Orozco will speak at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies ceremony on Saturday, June 15, at 4 p.m. in Wilson Plaza. Suárez-Orozco is dean of the school and a former special adviser on education, peace and justice to the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
 
There will also be numerous departmental graduation ceremonies and special celebrations.
 
For general commencement information, updates and details on ceremonies for particular schools and programs, visit www.commencement.ucla.edu/schedule.cfm.
 
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and six faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
 
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